Folk pest

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Folk pest is an animal metaphor that has been mentioned in literature since 1896 and was initially used in different contexts at the beginning of the 20th century. It gained notoriety as a name for people who are characterized as "harmful organisms" because of their behavior, which is viewed as non-conforming, mostly with the intention of denigrating them as vermin and deliberately dehumanizing them .

During the so-called struggle of the NSDAP , it was used to designate “pushers and usurers” and from 1930 the term was also used for alleged traitors .

Page 1679 from Reichsgesetzblatt I with the ordinance against public pests of September 5, 1939.

From 1939 the designation became a legal term by the People's Pest Ordinance of September 5, 1939 . According to Section 4 of this ordinance, anyone who “intentionally commits a criminal offense using the exceptional circumstances caused by the state of war” was considered a pest. In this case, the punishment was "exceeding the regular range of penalties with prison for up to 15 years, with life in prison or with death if this was required by the healthy public opinion because of the particular reprehensibility of the crime".

The then Prussian State Secretary for Justice Roland Freisler wrote in the legal journal Deutsche Justiz , 1939, p. 1450:

"The ordinance puts four facts at the top, they are more than facts, they are plastic images of criminals:

  1. that of the looter ,
  2. that of the cowardly mischief ,
  3. that of the dangerous saboteur ,
  4. that of the economic saboteur. "

The content of the term pest, which was not conclusively defined in the ordinance, expanded increasingly in the course of National Socialist legal practice and, shortly before the end of the war , was primarily related to deserters . Victor Klemperer reports on a group of the Feldgendarmerie who in March 1945 wore an armband with the inscription "People's Pest Control".

The processing of charges relating to this regulation was mainly assigned to the special courts . During the war, the competence of the special courts was also extended to "normal" crimes, so that " enemies of the state " (political variant) or "public pests" (general variant), provided they were also "dangerous habitual criminals", could now be recognized on preventive detention.

See also

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Pedagogical Yearbook, Verlag Julius Klinkhardt, January 1, 1897, p. 167.
  2. Cornelia Schmitz-Berning: Vocabulary of National Socialism. P. 673 with reference to Klemperer, “I want to take testimony” , vol. 2, p. 699 and LTI, p. 274.